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Weekends With Alex Witt

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Us 10, Boehner 9, Washington 8, Advair 8, Benghazi 7, Hawaii 6, John Boehner 5, Clinton 5, Alex 5, U.s. 5, America 5, Alex Witt 3, Pennsylvania 3, Yarmouth 3, Nra 3, Copd 3, Atlanta 3, John Harwood 2, Harry Reid 2, John 2,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    December 22, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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sectarian conflict will break out. and i suspect fighting in lebanon, across the border, will also break out and you will have sunni shia conflict in lebanon, syria, and iraq, stretching from baghdad to beruit. if you have this fighting along sectarian lines in pockets all over the place it will be very dangerous to cover. >> richard engel, you are more capable than pretty much anybody else doing this, and the facts that this was so dangerous for you, makes us worry about the prospect of us being able to cover this up close. welcome back. >> thanks. >> now you have to stay here and become a dentist. i talked to your mom about it already that will do it for us tonight. thank you for being with us. have a great holiday. cliff-mas is coming. on capitol hill, not a creature
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is stirring. what happens in we ring in the new year with no fiscal deal? details ahead. and the nra calls for security guards at every school. what you didn't hear on the statement from the pro-gun group. holiday havoc. slow go in parts of the country and in some places it could get worse. pennies and nickels, worth the cost? good morning, welcome to "weekends with alex witt." what is happening out there. ten days and counting. president obama and house speaker boehner left washington without reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff. before heading to hawaii, president obama said he met individually with leaders of the house and senate, asking them to work toward a package that prevents a tax hike on middle class americans. >> this is something within our capacity to solve. it doesn't take that much work. we just have to do the right thing.
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so call me a hopeless optimist, but i still think we can get it done. >> earlier in the day, speaker boehner held a news conference. a vote on his so-called plan "b" was scrapped thursday night when it became clear it did not have enough support among house republicans to secure passage. >> a situation where because of the political divide in the country, because of the divide here in washington, trying to bridge these differences has been difficult. if it were easy, i'll guarantee you this would have been done decades before. >> joining me now, congressional reporter for "the washington post," ed o'keefe. good to see you. >> good to see you too. any kind of realistic timetable that this will be done before january 1st? >> what the president is most concerned about now, making sure unemployment insurance is extended for those that need it and where taxes remain where they are for people making under
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$ $250,000. that is something that could conceivably get done with ten days to go, but it would require a lot of cooperation and coordination between the senate and house and guarantees they could pass in both chambers. >> are republicans actually hoping go over the fiscal cliff because any vote on taxes technically would be to cut them? >> we've heard some republicans say that, but i think overall, they know. both sides know that to go over the cliff, will lead to political consequences. polling suggests that republicans would suffer the most if something like that happens. the speaker especially labeled unpopular and somewhat responsible for this, and i think republicans will help that. taxes shurnt go up. if they were to go up by law, conceivably they could come back in january and lower them and campaign on the fact that they lowers taxed. >> let's take a look at what
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speaker boehner said on friday. >> many of us believe on both sides of the aisle, the fundamental reform of our taxes will help get our economy moving faster and get more americans back to work. how we get there, god only knows. >> so the president says he's going to head back to washington after christmas to try and hammer out a deal before new year's. babe boehner said god only knows, god and ed o'keefe. how do they get there? >> for practical reasons there, are bills sitting in either chamber right now that the other chamber has passed, the house is telling the senate, pass our bill. the senate is telling the house pass our bill. either of those bills could be amended and sent back across the capitol, and make some changes, and send it back for final passage and sent send it to the president. can you get that done in five or six days after christmas before new year's? you know, it could, it would
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require a miracle from god perhaps to get that done. conceivably, there are at least legislative options on the table which require amending, passing it, sending it on. if they come back as scheduled on wednesday night, thursday morning, they will have to work all day long, all through monday, up until the ball drops to get something passed in order to avoid falling over the cliff. >> is that a drop dead date. what if they get something passed the 4th of january. too late, can't do something retroactive? >> you could, except it's going to make life difficult for accountants and hr offices. if the payroll tax expires, you will have to start juggling people's paychecks and figure out how you retroactively apply that back. the longer it stretches to january, the bigger the problem comes. then have you people's taxes messed with in a sense and the
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economic uncertainty into the new year, perhaps we'll see the stock market start to react. and a lot of people are watching, surprised that wall street hasn't reacted more negatively in the past few days. it dropped a little bit on friday, but it's going to take something, people say, much bigger than that over the course of a few days to finally compel lawmakers, and then constituents might pick up the phone and say you're hurting my 401(k), hurting my pension, let's get something done. >> ed o'keefe, thank you so much. >> appreciate it. now to the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school. three first graders will be remembered. josephine grace gay, and anna marquez-greene will be laid to rest. and emilie parker will be laid to rest in her home state of utah. and there will be a day-long christmas party where childrens can enjoy thousands of donated
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gifts and a visit from santa and the university of hartford men's and women's basketball teams will wear uniforms with a patch bearing sh for sandy hook. the nra's call forearmforea guards in every school. what critics are saying. just three days before christmas, aaa is predicting 93 million people will travel long distances for holidays. we are outside the world's busiest airport in atlanta. okay, gabe. how is it looking today? >> alex, good morning, air traffic is moving pretty well, and temperatures dropped over the last day or so. doing well here in atlanta, and so far, in fact, no significant delays, and the past two days were a different story.
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the storm that moved through the plains and midwest, forced more than 1,600 flight cancelations in the u.s. alone and laguardia, for example, hundreds -- thousands of people were forced to rebook their flights. same story in chicago, where the storm canceled hundreds of flights there alone and the last two days have been pretty rough for drivers across the country, notary for some. the west coast may see problems thanks to another storm system and also problems in upstate new york and pennsylvania perhaps with new snowfall there. and air travel today is improving, aaa, they say it will be a busy few days for holiday travelers, and they have forecast about 93 million total travelers, the vast majority of those will be by car, 84 million, and those that are driving this holiday season, they are getting a little good news, gas prices are actually
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down from a month ago. $3.24 a gallon unleaded. air travel moving pretty well in atlanta today. a different story than what we've seen the past couple of days. alex. >> good luck maneuvering the traffic behind you there. people pulling up for their flights. thank you, gabe gutierrez. > alex, we are watching this huge storm finally start to pull away. on the back side, wind gusts across the northeast, perhaps to top out at 30 to 40 miles per hour. could create flight delays later on today. in the meantime, as far as precipitation is concerned, most of it off lake ontario, lake-effect snow in effect all day today throughout portions of the eastern side of the great lakes, up to new york state. winds gusting at this time over 30 miles per hour, again that could create some flight delays
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this morning. winter storm warnings and lake-effect snow advisories in effect. all through new york state, even in erie, pennsylvania, to northeastern ohio. we could end up with another three to six inches of snow on top of what's on the ground. lake effect in nature and most of the east coast will not be seeing snow like that. most of the country actually pretty quiet today after the big storm we had move through the midwest this week, but the west coast is still getting slammed with rain and wind and mountain snow and that is actually going to continue to sunday as well. a big travel weekend for sure and it looks like the west will be dealing with most of the travel troubles, but as we go into sunday, mostly sunny skies up and down the eastern seaboard. alex. >> dylan drier, thank you very much. the national rifle association's proposal to last week's deadly attack in newtown. the nra says more schools should have guards armed with guns of their own. let's go to pete williams live
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in washington. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, alex. the nra's response comes from wane la pierre, he said the best way to protect children is to put more security officers armed with guns in the nation's schools. >> the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away? or from a minute away? >> reporter: la pierre says banks, the president, and
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congress are protected by armed guards and schools should be too. somewhere between a fourth and a third of nation's schools already have an armed guard. most in middle and high schools. they didn't say anything about assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. the nra's plan was called a distraction from the more basic problem, the widespread availability of those weapons. one point of common ground between nra and president obama. they believe too much violence in popular culture. >> pete williams, thank you very much. so the nra says armed officers should be in every school in america. what do you think? talk to me on twitter twitter, @alexwitt. i will read some of your headlines throughout the day. holiday shopping and one statistic that stands out this season. the fiscal cliff. a long fall if it happens. what could happen to our economy, and when.
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three big money headlines, stocks slide, shopping slumps and no chump change. joining me live, morgan brennan. good morning. >> good morning. >> let's get to the uncertainty over the fiscal cliff talks, that sent the stock sliding. what happened there? >> so we saw all three u.s. stock indices end yesterday about a percentage point lower than where we started friday morning. i would actually call this running to safety. we're seeing investors and
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actually company insiders selling out of their stock positions, plowing money to safe haven investments like u.s. treasuries and gold. and we saw the price of oil come down as well because of recession eary fears, not unusu since fiscal cliff talks are at a standstill. but stocks still ended up mod t modest modestly. >> and sales, a slump, how bad is it? what's behind it? >> at this point, what isn't behind it, superstorm sandy, heartbreaking tragedy in connecticut last week and now the fiscal cliff standstill that is actually cutting consumer confidence. i think all of those are playing a role. a lot of data firms are cutting back on shopping outlooks for the holiday season. i'm not too worried. we saw this similar, and relatively robust black friday sales, a lull in the following weeks and a surge in the last couple of days before christmas.
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we'll see the same thing with the last-minute shoppers piling into stores. >> if folks have to shop until they drop the past couple of days, which big-name stores will be open 24/7 before christmas? >> toys r us and macy's, the surprise, mcdonald's is pushing franchisees to stay open on christmas day. they apparently think people will want big macs. >> surprising. the cost of american coins is going up. how does the treasury propose to cut the cost? >> apparently it takes money to make money. the u.s. mint released a two-year report earlier this week, and pennies and nickels cost more than two times their value to make. they are looking to cut costs and test driving different metals and alloys to change the compositi composition. they haven't found anything yet. but that's in the works, so that's kind of interesting. takes 2.5 cents to make a penny
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and 11 cents to make a nickel. >> going, all right. thank you very much, morgan brennan. next up, joe sestap on the school guard proposal and the fallout from benghazi. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪
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t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. and to do it now. >> that was national rifle association ceo wayne la pierre who says the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. joined now by joe cestak. your reaction to wayne la pierre what is it? >> i come from pennsylvania, and i have great respect for hunters
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and an individual who wants to have a gun to protect their home. i have a beautiful 11-year-old daughter, and i want to grow up in america where she appreciates the freedom to own a gun, but i don't want her to grow up in an america where she feels the only way she can be safe in her school is to be able to have an armed guard there or an armed guard on a bus that might take her to independence hall for a school trip. after 31 years in the military, being associated with weapons, that as a senator -- as justice alito said, have you a right to a gun but there limits to that right. those sorts of military weapons should not be in the hands of our citizens, to hunt deer or for a criminal. and the last time we had an assault weapons ban, alex, in 1994, within two years, the amount of -- the percentage of murders of police officers by assault weapons dropped from 60% of all murders to 0%. it does have a practical impact.
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it's not the only answer. mental health is part of the problem and other issues, but it's not right to say we need an aurmed guard at every single school in america. not the type of society we want. >> you are saying it's some sort of combination of gun control and mental health initiatives on behalf of the government. a lot of the silence up until now has been blamed on the nra's political power. it's estimated in your own race in 2010, the nra and affiliates spent $1.5 million to outst you. how powerful are they really? i heard ed rendell say they are a paper tiger. are they really that powerful? does the sandy hook shooting do anything to change that? >> no, they are not that powerful. look, we came within two percentage points of that race
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and it had nothing too do with the nra. the nra opposed me in every single race and i won every single one until the very last. my take on this is that americans very much want their liberties to be respected. but we are americans that come together in a community and if we want more senators, senator casey recently changed his position and that's the tragedy about connecticut it took that tragedy to have senators to do what's actually right. the nra is not a complete paper tiger, just a special interest group, and i believe that americans want to do what's right for the community. there are other issues americans want to have. a child lock or a gun show that cannot sell as many guns as anybody wants without a background check. i believe if americans -- public officials do what's right, that this will be part of the problem -- the resolution. we can overcome the lobbying of the nra and still keep your job as a public official which
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should be second in consideration. >> yeah, let's switch gears. i want to ask you about the benghazi hearing. what did we learn from the hearing on thursday? does it settle the debate? >> no, i don't think it will completely settle the debate. in the military, i learn to respect what you inspect. this is the third time we've done this in the last decade after embassies or consulates have been overrun. another step to improve. the state department mismanaged it, and where the rubber met the road with the assistant secretary and below. i think accountable is tough, but needed. secondly it points out congress had a role in this. the last two areas, they cut the installation of funding for embassies and consulates overseas by 10%. i hope the next steps are stop the finger pointing. if we put diplomats in bad neighborhoods like benghazi, we owe them the kinds of resources that will protect them. state department has to be
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better managed, and congress has to fund that appropriation, just like it does the military. >> you said accountability is tough but needed. three other officials have been relieved of duties, that an adequate response? >> i think you will see secretary clinton who unfortunately has had a concussion, and such a superb public official testify in january. she wants to. but she also was the one who stood up, front and center, early on and said what happens in the state department regarding benghazi, i am responsible for, and i think that is the fine type of leadership -- yes, in this area of the proper defense of our consulates overseas, the proper thing was done. in other areas, not for political purposes, but for making sure we get the right lessons learned that has to be completed in terms of investigation. we need the fbi to finish the criminal investigation to find out the perpetrators,
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terrorists, that did this so we can get them. second, in what the talking points episode was all about, how come the interagency, good reasons or bad reasons, changed those talking points overtime? we need -- as senator feinstein once said, to understand the process so it's done better in the future. a big believer of lessons learned and applying them. which didn't happen in the state department this time. it was not needing, the restriction and requirements of the last accountability review board completed in 1999. we didn't have that meeting those standard and learned that lesson again. >> a painful one indeed. good to see you as always. many thanks. >> happy holidays. >> and to you in the one-minute play back, weird holiday traditions. jimmy fallon had #latenig
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#latenighthashtags. he asked viewers to send in weird holiday traditions. after june wrapping a present, we ball up the paper and throw it at the ceiling fan and cheer when someone gets hit in the face. this last one @kelsey mh, she says we aren't allowed to open any presents if we don't have these on. there we go that's a great tradition. this holiday, share everything.
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share "not even close." share "you owe me..." share "just right." the share everything plan. shareable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. hurry in for a droid razr m by motorola for $49.99. ♪ do they know it's christmastime at all ♪ >> welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." 31 past the hour. fast five headlines. we begin with breaking news. pope benedict has pardoned his former butler who stole papal documents and leaked them to the press. he did it to expose evil within
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the vatican. the pope visited him in jail to inform him before he was immediately freed, he will have to find another job. a u.s. marine jailed since august since trying to acrocrose boarder with an unloaded handgun that was a family heirloom was released. and the second vote of the undisputed constitution in egypt is underway. people in spain lining up to buy tickets for the legendary christmas lottery. sales down for the 200th el gordo, which will hand out $3.5 billion. >> young folks in denver turned out for a flash mob to celebrate that the world did not end after all. they sang the classic rem song "it's the end of the world as we know it." even though it wasn't. the president and congress home for the holidays. president obama and the first
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family left for hawaii and their christmas vacation. kristen welker in hawaii and with a good morning to you. kristen, i know are you in hawaii, but it's not vacation. the question i think air force one landed a couple of hours ago? >> yep, about two hours ago, alex certainly not a vacation for me. >> 2:30 in the morning there, right? >> quite early here. and president obama beginning his vacation against the back drop you just described. washington still in disarray. seemed earlier this week, the president obama, house speaker john boehner, would get a deal that would include deficit reduction and tax reform. that has fallen apart. so there is a big question mark about what happens now. how they move forward. president obama boarded air force one friday evening with his family. as they left for hawaii. but a little earlier in the day, he met with senate majority leader harry reid and spoke with
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house speaker john bainer and addressed the nation on the topic of avoiding the fiscal cliff. called on lawmakers to compromi compromise, to get a deal done. he acknowledged time has run out for getting a larger package. what they need to focus on now is getting a smaller deal that will avoid taxes from going up on middle class americans. meanwhile, a very rough friday for house speaker john boehner, really spent most of the day, explaining what has been views as a political blow, when on thursday, many republicans refused to back his plan b. that is speaker boehner's alternative plan for avoiding the fiscal cliff and called for allowing rates to go up on those making $1 million or more. here is a little more of what house speaker john boehner and president obama had to say on friday. take a listen. >> we have a number of our members who didn't want to be perceived as having raised taxes. >> i expect democrats and republicans to get back to washington and have it pass both
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chambers. and i had immediately sign that legislation into law, before january 1st of next year. >> >>. >> reporter: now, lawmakers are expected to return to washington after the christmas holiday. president obama still has hope that a deal can get done by january 1st deadline. alex, the clock is ticking and a lot of pressure to get something done. many economists said we do go over the fiscal cliff, the country could slide back into recession. >> kristen welker in hawaii, thank you for that. joining me for more on the fiscal cliff negotiations is john yarmouth. welcome, thank you. glad to have you back on the show. >> thank you. >> president obama still thinks a deal can be reached, but speaker boehner had a pretty tough defeat when republicans balked at the plan to raise rates of those making over $1 million. where do you put the chances of
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a deal being reached before january? >> i don't think they are very high. the more likely scenario, rates will go up automatically on january 1st, and we discussed earlier on the program, that we'll meet early next year and cut taxes of 98% of american people, slightly more than that. but there is an outside chance, and one scenario in which the president and speaker boehner negotiate a deal, and it's a deal that most democrats can accept, instead of a majority of the republicans in the house, 40 or 50 of them vote with democrats to avert the fiscal cliff on the tax side, but that jeopardizes speaker boehner's job. he would be driving the bus over his most conservative members. >> if the gop doesn't accept a million dollar cutoff, what will they accept? this is all about republicans
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not wanting to be tagged at all with raising taxes in any way? >> it is. partially the grover norquist pledge, partially a deply held ideological commitment that some have. it's totally irrational and unrealistic in my opinion. and i served with nick movet of north carolina. he believes if you raise taxes a penny on anybody, then you have done something to retard economic growth, even though there is no evidence to support that. but he believes that and kind of faith-based economics. so i don't really criticize them, but just think they are dead wrong. >> so i want to bring in the conversation. cnbc chief washington correspondent john harwood. mr. harwood, hello to you. talking about speaker boehner and his control of the party. does he has have it?
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>> no. nobody does. in fact, have you a reagan biograph biographer, craig shirley, prominent conservative, who said at this moment the republican party is a collection of warring factions. i spoke last night with a republican member of the house caucus who was bitterly critical of his colleagues who says there are 50 members of our caucus that don't have the political sense that god gave a goose. this is why john boehner can't lead them, could not lead them to support the plan b which he proposed. it shielded republicans from the argument that john yarmouth and other democrats might make, they are protecting million areas, raise taxes on $1 million incomes, and couldn't even get that far which is why this morning the president has a stronger hand he had a week ago with republicans unable to even pass that fallback. >> can anybody -- let's say
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there is talk that john boehner is safe in his job. can anybody step in and carroll those 50, john harwood? >> no, because at the moment they are at odds with public opinion in the country and some of the realities of governance. they -- as the congressman was saying, you are talking about people who are resistant to raising revenue, even though the revenue for the federal government is at 60-year lows as a portion of our economy. the retirement and the baby boom coming, tremendous expenses in medicare and social security, both very popular programs and people saying we need to cut spending. that is difficult for both parties. it is going to require very tough steps, but neither party is enthusiastic about doing that. congressman ryan who say very sincere conservative, and a bold conservative, even in his plan, he deferred many of the changes in medicare years out.
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that doesn't give you immediate savings, so there isn't really a way that they have outlined specifically to get the savings they say are required. >> your response to that, representative yarmouth? >> i think john is absolutely correct, and, you know, most economists look at the so-called sequester, across the board cuts that will go into effect on january 1st, and that is ready to happen, and the economy will go back into recession, and we'll have unemployment back over 9% in a matter of months, and i've said before, in my district, the largest seven employers all rely to a significant extent on federal funding, so you cut federal spending in any marked way, and you are going to get impact on the private sector, so both sides know that, and that's why most of us believe that you cannot have significant spending cuts until the economy is on much sounder footing. the irony of this all, we had
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$5.5 trillion of deficit reduction on the table, and nobody wanted to go there. so it's -- it's a situation fraught with irony but with very serious consequences for the economy. >> alex? >> yeah. >> i wanted to say quickly, the difference in the split within the caucus there, say significant chunk of members who will privately say i get the problem with getting this done and want to be pragmatic about it. mitch mcconnell at this moment may help harry reid make that happen in a very quiet way. but have you other peop but you have other people who simply won't follow. it's difficult to lead people who are not playing by the normal rules of pragmatic politics and compromise, giving their views are out of step with the country. >> i will tell you, the representative is nodding with you in agreement. representative john yarmuth and
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mr. john harwood. thank you, happy holidays. >> same to up. straight ahead, pulitzer-prize winning author john mae meacham, and the impact that the benghazi report may have on hillary clinton's possible run. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase. this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans,
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sometimes to a fault, so i think that what i would hope would happen, and i think secretary clinton is particularly well positioned to do this, is to have a candid and full airing of all of the questions, and say where mistakes were made. we forget this now. there was a moment with the 9/11 report and 9/11 commission where my sense is that the country began to feel a little better, because we felt like we were being told the truth. being told the truth is best as we know it. and i think that's what should happen here. there wasn't enough security, that was a mistake. political leader who's admit mistakes i think do much better than political leaders that don't. i don't think it would hurt
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secretary clinton's presidential bid at all to talk about what happened as clearly as possible. anyone who is going to vote against hillary clinton because of benghazi was not a swing voter. >> yeah. >> and as the father of daughters, i very much want her to be in the mix. i think the icon ing ograhy is . my son came to me when we were having another girl and said we're going to be outnumbered and i don't like our chances. he has since moved on to become an nba and nfl fan, totally an act of rebellion, probably won't stop there. >> this wall and all of the photos that cover it, it is wonderful. >> a lot of this is david hume kennerly. a young pulitzer-prize winning photographer in vietnam. president ford's photographer,
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shot for "time," "newsweek," and a number of others through the years. that's david's contact sheet from nixon leaving the south lawn on august 9th, '74. that's ed clark, who was a "life" magazine photographer at fdr's funeral. the accordion player at warm springs. >> that's very touching. >> and by martha mitchell there, is a dark moment for everyone. >> do love the cat eyes, though. i love that. >> and the expression on the face. >> and the attorney general who went to prison. these things happen. but they are fun. >> george w. bush. >> president bush. what's interesting to me about that picture is that he -- it's philadelphia 2000, there he is in a moment of being nominated
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to succeed his father, and he seems totally alone in that moment. it's just -- and, you know this, because you have been around political stranage craft, but te are these moments even though are you in the midst of everything, it's all you. >> at 12:00 noon, we'll talk about the newtown school shootings and the second amendment. and what thomas jefferson thought about the long-term right to bear arms. up next what is the nra? second amendment rights group or a lobbying group for the gun industry? that next. copd makes it hard to breathe, but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene.
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♪ the nra represents 100 million law-abiding gun owners but the tragic shooting at sandy hook elementary school has left many taking a really hard look at america's gun culture and the
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powers that support it. joining me now is jordan weisman whose new article says, who does the nra really speak for? that's a darn good question to ask and we are glad you are here with us, jordan. answer the question, who does the nra speak for? >> it is hard to disentangle all the different people they kind of represent, but you have to look at it this way. they receive millions and millions of corporate donations. since about 2005, the policy center found they received $38.9 million from various gun industry groups and people that sell ammo, that sell assault-style weapons that were used in the tragedy in newtown. but, at the same time, you kind of scope that back and look at their entire budget, right? this group is about 220, $250
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million they will spend in a year. and a vast majority comes from the dues they pay and the ads they send to those members. at one time you have this kind of very avid and very vocal group of gun owners sort of the grassroots. at the same time, you have this corporate element and some of the biggest donors individually are also the corporate elements. >> is the second amendments right advocacy group or is this a lobbying force for the gun industry? >> again, it is kind of hard to say, where does one stop and the other begin? it seems like it is sort of both in a way. for the gun industry, to be more absolute, you're taking on the second amendment, the fewer rules and regulations they have to deal with. so in a way every time they say more guns or fewer hindrances and fewer background checks, that's good for sales. but, at the same time, you could there eticly make a principle
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stand and say that's the second amendment. the reason people think it is more of a corporate influence is the nra takes the stand essentiallyto the right of their own membership. >> to that end, this article was written by wayne lapier took to the podium yesterday. is this what you expected him to say? >> i didn't expect him to say mortal combat. >> kindergarten killers, i was like, you've got to be kidding. >> it was a little surreal. but i thought he was going to take a more measured tone, frankly. i think a lot of people thought it would you say going to be more of a canny act of setting up a lobbying process. >> everybody thought there was going to be a more measured tone there because common sense would be implored with a more measured tone. what propelled him on behalf of the nra to come out with such a strong stance? >> it is speculating, but a lot of people thought the nra has gotten into a bubble. that it's so kind of bullet-proof, forgive the pun
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there, but they haven't really had a serious challenge in so many years because people have been afraid of them and the methodology has grown up around the nra that it's been, they have lost sight of what the public may feel at this point. >> are they that powerful? >> i think you'll have to ask a political analyst about that, but the bottom line is the more people that come to represent corporate interest as opposed to maybe your regular gun owner, regular hunter, the more that power kind of fades a bit. >> okay. jordan weissmann, appreciate it. good article in "the atlantic." that's a wrap of weekends with alex witt. join me for two hours at noon eastern time. straight ahead, more smart political talk on "up" with chris hayes. that's all to come here on msnbc.
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